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Art and Music Therapy go virtual at TUH

The committee of Heartbeats staff choir at Tallaght University Hospital trying out Google Hangouts for their 'virtual rehearsal'.

The committee of Heartbeats staff choir at Tallaght University Hospital trying out Google Hangouts for their 'virtual rehearsal'.

Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) has responded in creative and adaptable ways to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 to ensure patients and staff still have access to art and music - but in a different and more virtual way.

As with all services across the Hospital, COVID-19 has severely impacted the process of delivering the Arts Service in the hospital.

Music therapy and art at the bedside services to patients are not possible and ‘Heartbeats - TUH Choir’ rehearsals have been cancelled due to necessary social distancing and infection-control measures.

But the work of The National Centre for Arts & Health at TUH has ensured that patients and staff continue to have the health and wellbeing benefits that art and music bring.

The Hospital Arts Team designed and produced a series of art packs for patients called ARTS4ALL with the hope to encourage creativity, self-expression and somewhat ease boredom at this difficult time. The packs contain everything needed to complete the task and patients are encouraged to share images of their artwork by sending a photo when finished too. Art Packs include colouring, weaving, crafting and sewing.

Clara Monahan, the Age-Related Music Therapist, has created a series of videos which will be accessible to patients and staff via the TUH YouTube Channel and is also available on the staff and patient app channel. The aim is to release a song and video weekly while visiting restrictions are in place.

‘Sing with Me’ is a series of short acoustic music videos performed by Clara. It is a quick and simple way to listen in, sing or tap along and enjoy these feel-good songs.

‘Relax with Me’  is a series of music-inspired relaxation and visualisation videos guided by Clara in her capacity as a music therapist. They offer a wonderful opportunity to relax, recharge and revive.

Michael Fay, Director of Heartbeats-TUH Choir, took on the challenge to recreate what was the usual choir rehearsal and transform it into an online format. Virtual choir rehearsals are now up and running on Tuesday evenings, with choir members logging on, to sing, learn a new musical skill and have a chat afterwards.  The experience has brought about change, resourcefulness and adaptability to learn new skills.

“It has highlighted the importance of connection. While the usual culmination for a choir is in the form of a concert, although important, it’s the process between the choir members that is actually the most important factor. Proving how important it is to connect with others in a group,” highlighted Michael.